Training For A Half Marathon Guide

We understand that you are excited to commence preparing for your next marathon. Whether you’re just beginning to run a half-marathon (21 km) for the first time, or you’re trying to achieve a personal record, having an appropriate marathon training program is vital.

Covering a distance of 13.1 miles is a remarkable accomplishment (equivalent to 231 football fields), therefore, it is understandable that you will not be able to achieve this goal with just a few protein shakes and a Fitbit.

To achieve success, you need to have a strategy. And guess what? We have the perfect 8-week marathon training program. Yes, there will probably be uncomfortable sweat and soreness, possibly even a few tears or bruises, but the satisfaction that comes with accomplishment is well worth it.

Training for a Marathon

Put together those vision boards—let’s begin by examining your incentive for participating in a marathon more closely. Did your super-fit friend talk you into it? Are you trying to shed a few pounds?

It is essential to have a firm goal in mind when preparing for challenging training, no matter what initially motivates you; be it to set a personal best or increase recognition of a great charity.

Before commencing training for a marathon, it is important to remember some important guidelines. To attain your highest level of capability without exceeding your physical limits, consider implementing these core elements of marathon running.

Marathon Training 101

Get the right gear. You won’t be able to make much progress on your training plan if you’re wearing those outdated Chuck Taylors. You require specialized running shoes that are ready to handle your lengthy journeys.

Make sure to get performance running shoes before the big race, don’t leave them until the last minute! If blisters and hurting feet are not your goals, it will probably take a bit of time for them to adjust.

Know the building blocks. To get ready for a half marathon, you need to incorporate four major things into your routine: the baseline distance, a long run, speed work, and rest days.

Increase the amount of running you do by running 3-5 times a week. Every 7-10 days, add a longer run to your training program so that your body becomes accustomed to running longer distances.

Incorporating speedwork into your training, such as interval training and tempo runs, increases your cardiovascular stamina while taking RNR days is imperative to preventing mental and physical exhaustion.

Start slow. The adage that persists is that taking it slowly and staying consistent will ensure victory. Increase your base mileage gradually over the eight weeks of marathon preparation. The golden rule? Try not to increase your mileage by more than 10 per cent each week.

Beginning with a shorter 5K or 10K race is an excellent way to condition your body and mind for your initial marathon. If you have already completed a few long-distance marathons, remember that you may need to adjust your running speed and approach to your training routine.

Stay hydrated. H2O is the way to go! You should not disregard the importance of proper hydration if you plan to avoid getting injured. Your energy level increases drastically as you cover greater distances, so you need to understand how to properly maintain proper hydration as a knowledgeable athlete. Avoid cramps, dizziness, and fatigue by quenching your thirst!

Add variety. Different types of experiences can increase the excitement and fun of life, and we understand you prefer to make things even more interesting. Cross-training isn’t mandatory, but it’s highly recommended. Increasing your muscular stamina can stop you from reaching the dreaded point at around 10 miles.

Cross-training facilitates the completion of your last effort and also starts you on the way to being a healthier, well-rounded athlete. If lifting weights in the gym isn’t something that appeals to you, going up and down hills while running is an excellent way to make your leg muscles stronger and get into a better interval training routine.

Stretching is essential. If you are over the age of 21, your body will not be content if you omit the warm-up exercise before running. The one occasion when you imagine you don’t need it, SPLAT! You tear your hamstring and get sidelined for weeks. Can’t get into stretching?

Try this technique instead. Extend those tense muscle areas, concentrating on your calves, thighs, and buttocks. It’s a good idea to get yourself a foam roller if you’re experiencing tightness in your IT band; they’re incredible for this type of thing.

Understand your limits. Do not be deceived by the title – a marathon is a huge undertaking. Pay close attention to your physical and mental responses and act accordingly.

If you experience a lot of pain during a workout, that could be a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard; take a break and allow your body to recover so that you can maximize your potential during competitions.

How Long to Train for a Marathon

How much time should you devote to training for a marathon? It all boils down to your physical state, what you have gone through, and your aspirations.

If you’re a beginner to running, it would be best to start off with an incremental training regimen that would allow you to increase your endurance throughout 10, 12, 16, or 20 weeks.

Generally, it takes about three months to get ready for a marathon. During this time, runners must plan for 3-5 days of running per week, adding up to a total of 15-25 miles.

Strapped for time? It is achievable to build up momentum and effectively get into shape within two months.

If you have planned an 8-week marathon training program, you must be capable of running 3-5 miles without difficulty and doing a minimum of 9 base miles every week. If this does not apply to you, you should look for a less aggressive training plan. Expect to be jogging 3-4 days every week depending on your proficiency.

1. Your fitness level

If you possess the capability to run 3 miles, then you’re set to commence this program! If you’re not quite prepared to run 3 miles yet, check out this personalized 10K plan for beginners or the schedule on how to run for 30 minutes without stopping.

2. Time availability

It does not matter whether you are a walker or a runner – anyone can prepare for a marathon. It doesn’t need to be complicated or excessively intense.

When training for the marathon, even if you are just a beginner, you may experience a heightened intensity because of the shorter length of time you are focusing on your training. Your body may react differently than if you spread out your training over a longer period.

Here are some additional suggestions for carving out the necessary time to train for a marathon.

Therefore, examine your agenda and calendar for the upcoming two months and ensure that this is a feasible objective to which you can allocate your time.

Think about your loved one’s timetables in addition. Do you have the resources to do extended runs if you have kids to take care of?

Does it fit with your partner’s plan and not cause too many disturbances? Will your mom be undergoing a major operation in the next two months? Evaluate the components that will make up the upcoming months. If it is, then it is time to…

3. Sign up before the marathon race

It is suggested that people who are taking part in running events should register for them early on, either before initiating a workout routine or in the initial weeks of their training. By doing this, you will have additional motivation to remain consistent in your running regimen!

This aim is firmly set and not just floating around in the future; it is something that is scheduled and will definitely take place! This will assist in keeping you responsible for the objectives you have established!

Anatomy of a marathon training

The “anatomy” here refers to the structure of the training plan, which has been set up to help you achieve your objectives.

Weekly mileage

Your mileage will increase gradually by approximately 10% every week, to avoid over-exerting yourself and to facilitate alterations in your routine.

For the first week of training, you will be covering 13 miles in total by running. Over the final seven days of instruction (Week 8), you will reach the highest number of miles with a count of 20.

The number of miles you run each week will vary as you strive to increase your endurance while allowing for rest periods in your program. This is an ideal option for first-time half-marathon runners!

Weekly long runs

You should go for a longer run on Saturdays, and you should increase the distance of the run by two miles each week.

You have the option of switching the day of the week you do your long runs, so you can adjust your other workouts to make your long run fit into your chosen day.

This is the procedure for doing successful long runs, as well as an outline of what to do after you’ve finished your long run of the week.

The Complete Marathon Training Week Guide

Week 1

Week 1 is your “warm-up week” to help you:

  • get set into a routine and find what time of day works best for you,
  • how you are going to be nutritionally eating during your training, and
  • what your training week is going to look like.

Get into good habits during this week:

  • lay your running clothes out each night,
  • maybe do some easy meal prep to help you stick to healthy eating goals during the week,
  • focus on your hydration and making sure you are drinking adequately throughout the day,
  • gather any running gear that you might need throughout training, etc.

Week 2

The distance you are running is being extended from 4 to 6 miles. Your shorter run mileage though will stay the same.

Week 3

Your short-distance runs will remain at 3 miles, however, your long run will be increased to 8 miles, an extra 2 miles added. Don’t fret, there’s an interruption in your extended duration next week!

Weeks 4 and 6

This week there will be a brief pause in the training program, meaning you won’t be increasing your mileage.

Getting enough rest is essential, and it is all about maintaining an excellent equilibrium of putting in the effort to push yourself but also allowing time to take a rest so your body can adjust.

Week 5

Before the half marathon, you will have run a distance of 11 miles, the longest you have ever run in one go. You have accomplished most of the challenging tasks while luckily staying injury-free!

Week 7

This is your taper week.

You can learn the advantages, methods, and rationale for tapering here, but ensure that the amount of running you do before the half marathon race is decreased.

Modifying Training

For Beginners

Plan for three days of rest, one day of cross-training instead of a shorter running session during the week, and three days focused on running. Never skip your scheduled long run!

The most important factor in determining how well you will do in a half marathon is this. If necessary, select to omit one of your cross-training sessions, and after that, shorten your training run as little as possible.

For Intermediate Runners or Advanced Runners

Plan for two days off, one dedicated to cross-training instead of a shorter workout, and four running sessions. Going for a jog can be a great quality experience if you select it.

A good running session could cover tempo runs, hill climbing routines, sprint intervals, and fartleks.

It is proposed that on Tuesdays, one should incorporate speed work into their routine with either a tempo run or interval training if they are looking to become more rapid or powerful.

Cross Training Notes

If you’d like to incorporate cross-training into your training plan, please refer to the information given above. Having a solid overall level of physical fitness is key to success in participating in a half marathon and this is why incorporating varied forms of exercise into your training, such as cross-training, is essential.

It offers a reprieve for your leg muscles while exercising other regions of your body. Make an effort to do exercises with minimal effort, such as aerobic activity or weightlifting, during this time.

Cross Training Daily Time Limit

Strong workouts should last for between 20 to 30 minutes and aerobic exercise should extend for as long as 40 minutes.

If you want to produce superior results in a half marathon–like setting a personal best or running faster than before–incorporate a running day dedicated entirely to speed training workouts, rather than cross-training.


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